In this lovely meditation on ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arranging - Joan Stamm shows us how her twin paths of Buddhist practice and artistic endeavor converge and indeed become thoroughly intertwined.
Stamm's lush, elegant voice weaves childhood memories of her mother's joy at a just-bloomed morning glory with meditations on the symbolic importance of bamboo, of pine, of the lily. She takes us with her on her travels to Japan as she learns the essential principles of ikebana, and lets us join her as she teaches flower arranging to women in a nursing home who, though they won't recall tomorrow the rules of arrangement or even the flowers' names, nonetheless partake in the joy and love that celebrates all living things, however briefly they endure. And, when Joan shows us the natural symmetry of a blossom, we find that we too have regained our balance.
Includes 16 full-color photographs of the author's original ikebana.
Joan D. Stamm received shihan, formal authorization to teach, from the Saga School of Ikebana headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Her essays have appeared in Utne Reader, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, The Best Spiritual Writing series, Weber Journal and other publications. She currently lives on Orcas Island, WA.